Now that we’ve spent a year with our long-term 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, we’ve got a good idea of how this family hauler gets the job done in the real world. As the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market, we were looking forward to seeing how efficient it really is and if a plug-in powertrain is a good match for the Pacifica.
Tons of Tech
Our Pacifica Hybrid came generously packed with technology that’s great for both the driver and the passengers. Let’s start with the outstanding Uconnect infotainment system. Ours had the 8.4-in touchscreen (standard on the hybrid, optional on the nonhybrid) which is gorgeous and one of the most user-friendly systems out there. Our contributor Lindsay was impressed by the Apple CarPlay integration, and the built-in apps like navigation are a breeze to use with little to no learning curve.
But that’s just the beginning. The real party is in the back seat with the Uconnect Theater system. It’s a pair of 10-in HD touchscreens — one behind each of the front seats. These screens not only each have their own Blu-Ray player, but they come with apps and games that can make road trips fly by for kids who, in case you haven’t heard, can sometimes get a little impatient on long car rides. The result is a serene, enjoyable ride for everyone in the van. Our editor Tara’s little ones actually learned something from the Pacifica thanks to some of its educational Uconnect apps. Any car that educates your children while you drive is a great family vehicle in our book.
A Luxury Minivan?
Our editor Brian gave the Pacifica Hybrid the lofty compliment of being the "Tesla of minivans." Sure, it’s not all-electric like all Tesla models are, and it might not be as performance-oriented, but it is electrified and luxurious. Since every luxury brand is too chicken to put their prestigious badges on a minivan in the U.S., the most luxurious minivan you can buy in the States right now is a high-end Pacifica Hybrid, which, by the way, is only priced in the mid-$40,000 range before any tax credits. That might sound like a lot for a minivan, but good luck finding a similarly equipped plug-in hybrid family SUV from a luxury brand for even close to that price.
We were impressed with the interior design and overall fit and finish of this van. There’s even impressive attention to detail in the materials used on surfaces that are often cheaped-out on like the top of the dashboard, headliner and paneling of the sliding doors which is more premium than you might expect of any minivan.
A Couple Compromises
When you opt for the Pacifica Hybrid, there are two notable features from the non-hybrid Pacifica that you can’t get in the hybrid model because there’s a big battery in the way. Chrysler minivans have become famous for their clever Stow ‘n Go seating which comes standard on almost every trim of the standard Pacifica. With Stow ‘n Go, the second- and third-row seats effortlessly fold flat into the floor of the van instantly transforming your passenger van into a cargo van. Stow ‘n Go is sadly not available in the hybrid model, but the third-row seats still fold flat. The second-row seats are heavy and a pain to remove if you need that extra space.
A great minivan feature that was first introduced in the Honda Odyssey a few years back is now available in the Pacifica: a built-in vacuum cleaner. This is available in the higher trims of the nonhybrid Pacifica, but not available at all in the Pacifica Hybrid. The lack of availability of these features may not be a big deal if you didn’t plan on using either of them often, but it’s something to keep in mind when considering a Pacifica Hybrid.
A Good Hybrid and a Good Minivan
The Pacifica Hybrid is officially rated with an all-electric range of 32 miles and a total range of 570 miles with a full battery and a full tank of gas. That shakes out to an MPGe rating of 84 and a combined fuel economy rating of 32 miles per gallon when the hybrid battery runs out of juice. In real-world driving, we found ourselves rarely using any gas at all in everyday driving. Naturally, on long road trips, burning gas is a must. However, in everyday commuting to the office and to school pickup and drop-off, the all-electric range was usually enough for a day of driving.
The Pacifica Hybrid shares many of the family-friendly virtues of the standard Pacifica like sliding doors (which were remote-powered in our tester), a roomy cargo area, an easily accessible third row of seats that you can actually use, and a smooth, comfortable ride with more-than-adequate power.
Between the seemingly endless convenience features, class-leading technology, a surprisingly luxurious interior, and its efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a minivan that just might be the ideal family vehicle. It makes us hopeful that some of its competitors follow suit and we see more plug-in hybrid minivans in the future. Find a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for sale